If You Have the Time, Give These Albums a Listen and They Just Might Blow Your Mind

If You Have the Time, Give These Albums a Listen and They Just Might Blow Your Mind

Looking for something new to expand your music taste? Here are three albums by some little known artists released in the past year or so that are worth hearing Photo: Pokey LaFarge
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I decided this past week that I wanted to discover some new music like I occasionally do at points. So, I got on my Spotify and man, did I come across some great acts for sure, including some that caught me by surprise. Therefore, to help get these artists name out in the open and persuade you to try some new music as well, I thought I would share with you the albums I listened to from some of the artists I came across this past week and encourage you to check them out for yourselves because in my opinion, they are quite terrific. However, if you find out that they might not be your "cup of tea," that's okay too, because at least you can say that you gave them a try and that's all that counts!

1. William Michael Morgan- "Vinyl"

https://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-William-Michael-Morga...

This up and coming 24-year old country singer from Mississippi released his debut album titled Vinyl back in September of last year and it was really a shame that I never got around to listening to it until these past couple of weeks, because it sure was a dandy. Upon my first listen to this record, I could tell right away that this guy was going in the neo-traditional country sound that rose to popularity from around the mid-1980s to the early 1990s with artists such as Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Brooks and Dunn, The Judds, Garth Brooks (at least his earlier work before he went towards a stadium-rock country style), and possibly the greatest Neo-traditional country artist in my opinion, George Strait, being examples that recorded in this fantastic style of country music. Speaking of George Strait, that was actually the artist that Morgan's smooth baritone voice and overall sound reminded me of the most so I thought that was a plus too. It was really a great listen as a whole because I do miss listening to that great "new traditional" country sound on the radio since current popular artists of the genre today have taken it to a sub-genre called "Bro-country" which incorporates elements of hip hop, hard rock, and EDM (electronic) music, which isn't a sound I'm all that fond of to be honest.

My highlights from this album have to be the heartfelt tearjerker "I Know Who He Is" which has Morgan singing about spending some time with his father who has Alzheimer's disease while he is in the hospital telling the doctor to put away his chart, and allow him to have a "heart to heart" with his father to remember all the great memories they had together. These memories he describes include the times of him being his dad, coach, and friend who loved his wife (Morgan's mother) through the good and bad, while also being the best man that he has ever known. I think where this song hits me the most is in the chorus where Morgan sings, I don't wanna hear "He's goin' downhill"/ What about "Thank God he's around still"/ Lookin' right through me/ Not at all the way I see it/ I don't mind at all rememberin' for him/ He doesn't have to get why I adore him/ He don't have to know me/ I know who he is." It's such an impactful hook that goes to show that you should never take your family members and close friends for granted, and to always remember the good times you had with them throughout your life. Another great song on this record is "Lonesomeville" which is an emotional song about getting over a breakup and trying to adjust to a life without that person around anymore by living in a painful metaphorical city where "it's always raining and the sun don't shine," hence "Lonesomeville." "Beer Drinker" is another favorite of mine because while it isn't the most thoughtfully written and clever song on the album lyrically, it still is a nice ode to those hard working country men who love to crack open a cold one here and there. Lastly, the song that I considered to be the best track on this record was none other than "Missing" which has an outstanding melody with some great guitar playing and lyrics that describe the urge to go out on a journey to get away and disappear from the world you live in, while also clearing your head from the struggles of life.

Overall, while it might not be the greatest country album in the world, I can't praise it enough for it's clever songwriting and Morgan's ability to create some great tunes to the infectious style of country that is Neo-traditional. Along with Morgan, I hope that fellow country artists such as Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Zac Brown Band, and Sturgill Simpson can continue to bring these different styles of country like Outlaw, Neo-traditional, and Americana back into the mainstream and make them popular as ever. Whether you play this album at home or on a trip down the highway in your Ford pickup, you'll love it either way!

Favorite tracks: "Missing," I Know Who He Is," "Lonesomeville," "Beer Drinker," "Backseat Driver," "Spend it All on You"

Least favorite tracks: "Cheap Cologne," "People Like Me"

Album rating: 4/5

2. Electric Guest- "Plural"

https://www.amazon.com/Plural-Electric-Guest/dp/B0...

Well, I will say that while I do like this record, it was certainly a strange listen at first and it took some time for me to come around to it . This is the second studio album titled Plural by Electric Guest, an indie pop/rock/electronic group from Los Angeles who consist of the members Asa Taccone (who is the younger brother of Jorma Taccone, a member of the comedy music trio The Lonely Island), Matthew Compton, Luke Top, and Reese Richardson. Now, the first thing that was a standout to me while listening to this record was the voice of Taccone, who possesses a very high pitched and androgynous falsetto that could take some getting used to and might not be considered a standout voice for everyone. I myself am actually not a big fan of men who tend to sing with very ear-piercing and high-ranged falsettos because they can be a turn-off for me. However, while his voice has some spotty moments throughout this album, I found myself being drawn to Taccone's unique and unorthodox vocal style and it is impressive to hear what the man can do with his falsetto.

A particular track on this record that I thought was a highlight and showcased Taccone's voice the best was the Caribbean and Reggae inspired "Oh Devil" which contains a catchy synth-line that can get in your head and then all of a sudden, after the synth-line plays by itself for two straight bars, a booming drum and cymbals come in to add some flavor to the track, along with what sound like Shaggy influenced vocals being sung in the background during the chorus. While I think that Taccone's voice shines throughout this entire track, where he really shows off his impressive range is on the second verse where he sings "Oh devil, I'm in my own hell." All in all, this is just a great song to dance and bob your head to. Another song that I thought showed off Taccone's vocals very well was on the opening song "Zero" where it begins with an atmospheric vocal line from Taccone and then a catchy piano melody comes in along with the verses and some slow pounding drums.

The part that makes this song so memorable to me is on the chorus where Taccone's voice soars over the instrumental as he sings "Zero, that's the number that you get from me" because while his voice goes a bit out of tune near the end of that soaring vocal line, it still fits with the song as a whole to me. In my opinion, it is a great track from start to finish. However, as I previously stated, there are a couple spots on this album where Taccone's voice lets me down a bit and the instrumentals fall short. These songs that I am referring to include "Over," which I don't dislike so much for the vocals (even though they weren't anything special to me) or the instrumental in general, but everytime I listened to that song, the melody on the verses reminded me too much of the chorus to the Gorillaz's song "Feel Good Inc," not to mention that the chorus is bland and uninteresting to me with a "Dat da da da" falsetto line throughout the whole hook of the song which in my opinion added nothing notable to it. You can take a listen for yourself and agree or disagree, but to me both of those melodies sound incredibly too similar for me to enjoy it. The other song that I found to have missed the mark on this release was the track "My Omen" which right from the start loses my interest with a synth-line that sounds incredibly flat and out of tune with the acoustic guitar that is playing along with it in the background, as well as with the annoying and inaudible falsetto vocals from Taccone in the background too.

However, despite it's few flaws, I was pleased to have stumbled upon this album by such a talented indie pop/rock/electronic group and I would recommend anyone to give it a listen, even if you might not end up finding it to your liking. I'm looking forward to seeing what else this band has in store for the future!

Favorite tracks: "Zero," "Oh Devil," "Glorious Warrior," "Back and Forth," "Sarah"

Least favorite tracks: "Over," "My Omen"

Album rating: 3.5/5


3. Pokey LaFarge- "Manic Revelations"

http://www.rounder.com/2017/03/pokey-lafarge-manic...

Boy was I happy to stumble across this American folk and roots artist from Illinois! I mean his stage name is Pokey LaFarge, how does that alone not tell you that this guy is a real gem? In my opinion, if you call yourself by a strange, silly, and unique name such as "Pokey," you must be a pretty bad-ass talented artist, and bad-ass talented he is! LaFarge, born Andrew Heissler, released his eighth studio album this year, titled Manic Revelation, and it is is packed with songs that have influences from the sounds of the boogie-woogie blues, electric blues and doo-wop during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as the folk, roots and singer-songwriter styles of the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the instruments that you can find on this record are bombastic trumpets, groovy, tight, and walking bass-lines, lively and head bobbing drums, catchy electric guitar riffs, ear-worming harmonicas, along with some background vocals that work with LaFarge's voice to create beautiful harmonies throughout. I would describe his voice as a high baritone with a bit of a southern twang to it, similar to artists such as Hank Williams Sr., James Taylor, Pete Seeger, David Crosby, Buddy Holly, and especially Jim Croce, who is the artist I would compare his vocal style to the most.

Along with the versatile, catchy, and fantastic instrumentation, the lyrics are very well written and provide compelling stories and themes throughout as many of them involve struggles and pleasures of trying to find love in the songs "Must Be a Reason," "Better Man Than Me," "Bad Dreams," "Mother Nature," "I Will Never Change," and the fun, cute tune "Good Luck Charm." Other lyrical themes LaFarge addresses on this album include problems going on across the world, including in the media, on the tracks "Riot in the Streets" and "Silent Movie," and taking journeys to different parts of the world on the tunes "Wellington" and "Going to the Country."

Pretty much every track on this album was absolutely flawless in my opinion, but the ones that stood out to me the most were "Riot in the Streets," "Going to the Country," "Good Luck Charm," and my absolute favorite off this release, "Silent Movie." I can't stress to you how much I would like to this guy get the attention he deserves because while he has a decent following in the United States and around other parts of the world, I would love to see his name get bigger and bigger. However, sometimes being a small act is better than being "big" and getting all the attention, so who knows what'll happen throughout the rest of his sure to be outstanding music career. All I have to say is thank the Lord that this fantastic folk singer has seven other albums because that will hopefully make me even more engaged in his music and come to know what he's all about.

Also, just an additional point, one of the other reasons I seemed to find this man to be interesting was by the way he dressed, specifically the fact that he wears fedoras. So, if you know me, there are two things that make me love musicians, their overall sound and the style of fashion that goes with their musicality, and by God, Pokey LaFarge's style is off the charts. He's a slick looking dude! I encourage you to listen to all three of these acts, but this guy in particular is the one you NEED to check out first if I were you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

Favorite tracks: "Riot in the Streets," "Must Be a Reason," "Better Man Than Me", "Bad Dreams," "Silent Movie," "Good Luck Charm," "Going to the Country," "Wellington," "I Will Never Change"

Least favorite track: "Mother Nature"

Album rating: 4.5/5


Cover Image Credit: The Blues Mobile

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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10 TV Shows That Deserve The Same Amount Of Hype As 'The Office'— If Not More

Give Schitt's Creek the recognition it deserves!

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The Office is truly comedy gold, but other shows also deserve some recognition as well.

Disclaimer: Ok, so a lot of these shows are pretty hyped, but the point is that they aren't as hyped as the Office and they should be.

1. The Good Place

The premise of this show is that Eleanor, Kristen Bell's character, somehow finds herself in the Good Place, which is fine and all, but Eleanor knows her being there is a mistake. The first twelve episodes are amazing and enough to get you hooked, but the season finale is INCREDIBLE. This show is filled with jaw-dropping plot twists, so much comedy, and very lovable while also being completely unlovable characters. It airs Thursday's at 9:30pm on NBC and you can catch up on the first two seasons on Hulu and Netflix.

2. Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek is SEVERELY underrated. It follows the Rose's who were once a very wealthy family until their business manager screws them over and takes their entire fortune. The only thing they have left is the town that Johnny Rose, the patriarch of the family, bought as a joke for his son, David. It's so hilarious watching them try to adjust to living a very different lifestyle, and this show also features great character development, most specifically with Alexis Rose, Johnny's daughter. The clothes and wigs Moria Rose, the matriarch of the family, wears are also one of my favorite parts of the show. It airs Wednesdays at 10pm on Pop, and you can catch up on the first four seasons on Netflix.

3. Arrested Development

Arrested Development is very similar to Parks and Recreation, which doesn't get a feature on this list because I would say it is almost equally as hyped as the Office. The plot of Arrested Development follows Michael Bluth, who hates his family and wants nothing to do with them, that is until his father gets arrested for a white-collar crime and he has to take over the family company. The characters on this show are all so strange and flawed, and a large number of running gags will literally have you gasping for air after laughing so long. You can watch all 5 seasons on Netflix.

4. Black Mirror

The best thing about Black Mirror is that it's an anthology series, so you can literally start anywhere you want and skip episodes without missing anything (although I don't suggest skipping episodes). The main plot revolves around the dangers of relying on technology too much. The scariest thing about the show is that some of the inventions featured have been brought to life in the real world. I would say, however, that you shouldn't watch the very first episode first, because it does turn a lot of people away from watching the rest of the show. All seasons of Black Mirror can be found on Netflix, including the newest installment: an interactive film.

5. Any show in the DCEU.

Marvel has better movies than DC. That has been established. But, we all have to admit that the DC has been a lot more successful than Marvel when it comes to TV shows. Plus, since all of the shows are on the CW, we get amazing cross-over episodes that make you feel just as giddy as the first Avengers movies did. Plus, Supergirl continues to tackle some deep topics while also still remaining a fun show to watch. You can find a list of all showtimes here.

6. The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling is one of my favorite people of all time and watching her play a character so unlike herself with ease is fun (I know we all hated to love Kelly in the Office). The Mindy Project is about, you guessed it, Mindy Lahiri. Mindy is a quirky and hilarious OB/GYN, and the show follows her life in and out of the office. One of my favorite parts of the show are the guest stars, which range from Joseph Gordon-Levitt to James Franco. I also love Danny's sweet dance moves. The show is perfect for rom-com lovers. The Mindy Project can be watched on Netflix.

7. Black-ish

Black-ish follows the Johnson family and stars Anthony Anderson as Dre Johnson, a father who is worried that his suburban lifestyle if negatively influencing his children and causing them to become accustomed to a different lifestyle than Dre would like. Black-ish is such a good show, not only because it is hilarious, but because it continues to talk about topics that most TV shows would be uncomfortable or hesitant to touch on. I would also suggest watching it's spin-off Grown-ish, which follows Zoey Johnson, the oldest of the Johnson kids, as she begins her new life in college. Black-ish airs Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.

8. The End Of The F***ing World

Not gonna lie, this show is really weird, but it's a wild ride and the plot twist at the end of the first season will leave you with so many questions. It is actually based on a comic series of the same name by Charles Forsman and follows two teens, James and Alyssa, who are going on a journey to find Alyssa's dad. The only problem is that James is a self-diagnosed psychopath who is planning on killing Alyssa during their adventure. It has so much heart and some real good character development. You can watch this show on Netflix.

9. Parks and Recreation

HA! I lied. How could I make this list and not put down Parks and Rec??? Parks and Rec is, IN MY OPINION, a better show than the Office. Parks and Rec has so many likable characters, and many of them aren't even the main characters of the show. It never gets boring, is sure to make you laugh, and it has Andy Dwyer. ANDY DWYER. One of the funniest characters on any show I have ever watched. I also suggest watching the bloopers if you're ever bored. Parks and Recreation can be found on Netflix and Hulu.

10. New Girl

New Girl has got to be one of my favorite shows of all time. Jess needs to start over after walking in on her boyfriend cheating on her in their house. She goes on craigslist and finds an ad for an apartment. The catch, she is going to be living with three single guys, who all have very interesting personalities to say the least. New Girl is one of those shows that legitimately makes you laugh out loud every episode, and the character development is one of the best I've ever seen. You can watch all 7 seasons of New Girl on Hulu or Netflix.

So there's my list. Have you heard of a lot of these shows? Probably. Do you like a lot of these shows? Again, probably. But the point of this list is to prove that the Office, while amazing, is slightly over-hyped.

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